Tuesday, October 14, 2014

I can't imagine why the neighbors avoid us

Every morning when I put the kids on the school bus, I stand on the sidewalk with all the other parents, waving madly at our children, little faces smushed up against the windows, blowing kisses, the whole nine yards. I also flash the American Sign Language sign for 'I Love You.'

Nice. Simple. Easy. Communicates my feelings without being obnoxious. I'm totes a model parent.

Sometimes Noah likes to sign it back to me. Today he flashed me this:

Nailed it.

And that my friends is how you ensure that you are never invited to the neighborhood block party.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Excuse me, but can I interest you in a 'random gunman' rider for your car insurance policy?

This past Saturday I was out of town with my sisters at a wedding, leaving Dyl with the kids. Late that night, he texted me with the cryptic message that crazy stuff went down in the neighborhood but they were all safe. We were exhausted so I passed out without seeing the message, not getting it until Sunday morning.

Dyl went to bed around midnight and was just drifting off when he heard an explosion that seemed to come right outside our house. He looked out the window and saw a person running down the street but nothing else seemed awry. Figuring someone lit a fire cracker in a trashcan, he went downstairs to check more closely and saw another person running. About this time police cars started converging on our street where the only tension is over who parked in someone else's space. Then the search helicopter, SWAT armed with assault rifles and K-9 units showed up so shit got real. Still watching (because really, who could turn away), he saw another officer walking down the street shining his light into and under cars but when he got to Dyl's car he stopped and closely examined it. At this point, Dyl went outside, asking if he could be of assistance; did he need to open the car...? No, not that but sir, did you know that you have a bullet in your window? And there it was, in the small window on Noah's side. (Really, what was he going to say, 'Oh that? That's been there for ages; I was keeping it for sentimental reasons.') Miraculously, the kids slept through it all, even with the search teams heading behind our house to the marshy area backing to the highway.

Once the crime scene evidence gatherer type people showed up, they extracted the bullet but now we're left with a shattered window. The only thing left to do was punch the rest of it out and call the car insurance company in the morning to see about getting it repaired. Dyl started the process yesterday and today received an email (!) response that since "we don't carry physical damage on our insurance they are unable to cover the cost of fixing the car."

Wait. What?

If we had been in vehicular accident, would physical damage have been covered? Is this because it was stationary? For fuck's sake, our car had a bullet in it. A BULLET. In our car. That was parked in front of our house. At night. Because someone got all jacked up when someone else insulted his socks or something and ran down the street in a townhouse community randomly firing a gun and hit our car, we're on the hook for the repair cost since no one talks about the 'random-gunman insurance' rider and how it's money well spent. Just waiting now to hear that our rates have been jacked up due to residing in such a dangerous neighborhood. Those Boy Scouts are hard core, man.

'Murica. Fuck yeah.

Friday, October 10, 2014

I need a blindfold, some reinforced rope and a roll of duct tape. Stat!

Alternate title - Someone stop me before I volunteer again.

I work full time. I don't have a choice, I have to work (well, I do but the alternative is tricking out the minivan to house a family of four so we'll just stay with the original thought.) Dylan also has to work because both of us are terrible at negotiating salaries and someday their palates will burgeon and food will get hella expensive. C'est la vie. But this means that when the kids were little-er they spent the day in day-care/preschool. It was wonderful, just 5 minutes from my office but it wasn't with me or Dyl. Both of our moms stayed home with us growing up so I vowed to be as involved in the kids' lives as I could. I would show them how much I loved them, dammit. But....how? Aha! I got it:

It started way back when Noelle was in kindergarten. I had the flexibility in my scheduled to be able to help out in her classroom twice a month and I loved doing it. But I already shifted my work hours to allow the kids to sleep in (okay, and save us a shit-ton of money on before-school care) so that wasn't going to be possible now that Noah's in kindergarten. There must be something else I can do.... Hey! The PTA always needs help; let's start there.

This morning was the annual 'Donuts for Dads' event where an unending horde of adult men and accompanying minions swarmed the cafeteria tables laden with sugar-filled pastries and assorted liquid crack. Okay, fine - a lot of dads and their kids enjoyed a donutty treat and extra time together on a gloomy Friday morning. Though how they heard anything is beyond me as the noise in the lunchroom closely approximated a jumbo 747 revving up for take off. Anyway. I volunteered to work it as the timing of the event would allow me to get to work at my regular time. This consisted of me keeping the juice flowing until we ran out and making sure I had all ten fingers at the end. It was a rousing success - no one complained when we ran out of juice, everyone accepted water instead and all the kids were freaking adorable. Thus emboldened, I signed on for the next challenge - the Fall Event where I've dazedly found myself in charge of the scavenger hunt room. Related: Oriental Trading Company is going to LOVE me this month.

But wait, that's not all! This fall I'm also helping at the Cookie Booth for Noelle's Brownie troop, snack mom and first aid mom for said Brownie troop, assistant coach for her basketball team and I'm sure that I'm forgetting more things.

(Yeah, I know I'm not doing anything specific for Noah right now but I know nothing about soccer other than 'ball goes in net' and he can't start Boy Scouts until first grade so I'm giving myself a pass until then.) Maybe I'll take the rest of the fall off and actually see my husband. I bet he'd like that.

Though there is a book fair in a couple of weeks.....

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Playing well is the best revenge

You all know that the kids have been having some trouble with Little Lord Asshat at the bus stop the past few weeks, him of the 'you can't play unless I say so' line of lofty specialness. The past few days have been okay; everyone has played more or less together nicely enough. So when we arrived at the bus stop this morning, I felt no reason for trepidation. Ha. Haaaaa. Gotcha!

A friend of Noelle's had come down to our stop from the other entrance to the neighborhood and Noelle was explaining the rules of the 'Race the Cars' game when LLA's minion announced that no one can join unless they first sign up at LLA's house. 

Blink. Blink. Oh hell no! 

Then LLA pipes up with the declaration that to join the game of running on the public sidewalk racing cars would cost each applicant two dollars.

Jaw drop. I'm sorry; asphinctersays whaa? LLA's aunt/mother/second cousin twice removed was standing Right There and did nothing. I mean, they are all one giant in-bred family that has taken over half the neighborhood so it's not like she had no authority over him. So that's the way it's gonna be, huh. Fine. Fuck you Jobu, I do it myself.

I immediately (and not at all quietly) interjected that it was not a correct statement and anyone could run so go and have fun. Noelle had had enough of LLA's shenanigans so she and her friend walked away to play tag. Noah half-heartedly started up the sidewalk after LLA's gang when he stopped and turned back to me, sad that the other kids didn't want him to play. I comforted him, telling him that you don't want to play with mean kids anyway. Why don't you ask Noelle if you can join in the game of tag? 

He had a better idea though: "Mommy, will you play tag with me?" 

All of the reasons why this was a bad idea raced through my head: the grass was wet, I was dressed for work, there are a lot of younger siblings around and I don't want to swing around suddenly and clock one of them...but what I said was, "Of course Boo Boo. Let's play."

So we played tag, Noah running and laughing and giggling with me chasing him. Within seconds, Noelle and her friend asked to join in. Of course! Everyone can play. And so we continued running, giggling, shrieking...and then the darnedest thing happened: LLA and his crew, one by one, asked NOELLE if they could join in too. She had the opportunity to turn the tables on them but my girl, she just said "Sure!" Some of the boys looked uncertain so I added, "Everyone is welcome to play." 

A giant giggling game of tag ensued; I made sure to get myself tagged 'It' and chased all the kids until the bus came, the other parents watching us and smiling. By showing that they didn't need the other kids and creating their own fun, Noelle and Noah drew them all in by inclusion, not exclusion. The laughter rang loudly that morning and the smiles brightened the sky far more than the sun ever could.

But no one smiled bigger than me. 

Take that, Jobu; we did it ourselves. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Deep Thoughts with DQ

One of my favorite parts of the weekend is when Noelle comes into our room in the morning and crawls into bed with us. I cherish these times as soon she'll be too old to want to snuggle with mom and dad anymore; what makes it slightly less special is the bright-eyed and bushy tailed chatter she brings with her when we are struggling to open our eyes. Oh, and honey? You can just forget about ever getting lucky on a weekend morning as 1) she will appear sometime between the hour of 7 and 7:30 am like a ninja and 2) I have no desire to be awake before 7 am for any reason on a weekend. No one should, really. Ahem. Moving on. Dylan is a trooper and takes most of the brunt of the chatter though two weeks ago she raised her voice so I could better hear her. I, uh, might have slept through it anyway.

Recently I have been wondering what her dreams are like given the questions she has in the mornings. Last Saturday she wanted to discuss time zones as in, how many are there in the world, what countries are in what time zones, can you drive there, etc. Again, clawing our way out of the depths of dreams we tried to answer but sadly, were woefully unprepared to teach geography at seven in the morning. (Had this come up at eleven, no sweat. Yay Google!) (Also, we are so getting this child a globe for Christmas this year.)

Sunday morning we woke up to more snuggles and the burning question of why vowels are necessary in our language. Again, etymological theory before noon, let alone coffee, puts us at a distinct disadvantage but we had a go at it. Basically we told her that the consonants are the framework for words while the vowels give words substance. (May not be correct but keep in mind this was BC: before coffee.)

Considering that my first thoughts upon waking are 'Could I really jump that far?', 'Why the hell can't I run in a dream?' or 'I'm getting really tired of not being able to find my clothes.', this is pretty heavy stuff. I think I'll also start sleeping with the phone under my pillow; maybe I can cram for this weekend.

I just hope this week it's dinosaurs.